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April 27, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – China progresses a second vaccine candidate into Phase II – UK Government launches plasma therapy clinical trial

By Allie Nawrat

27 April 2020 

China has granted approval to assess a second coronavirus vaccine candidate against Covid-19 in the second phase of clinical trials; this is the third Covid-19 vaccine to enter clinical development. According to state-run Xinhua news agency, an inactivated vaccine created by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products under the China National Pharmaceutical Group, Sinopharm, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) entered clinical trials.

Immunotherapies developer Scancell has launched a research programme focused on developing a DNA vaccine candidate to protect from Covid-19. The vaccine will be designed to act on the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein and the main receptor-binding domain of the spike S protein. The project will involve researchers from the University of Nottingham, Centre for Research on Global Virus Infections, the Biodiscovery Institute and Nottingham Trent University.

The UK Government has approved a clinical trial to assess plasma therapy for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. A scaled-up national programme, if effective, will supply up to 10,000 units of convalescent plasma each week to the National Health Service (NHS), enabling treatment of 5,000 patients per week.

Serum Institute of India has plans to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford in the next two to three weeks, with an aim to produce five million doses per month during the initial six months and then scale-up to ten million doses per month. The company is one of the seven global organisations producing the vaccine.

Australia-based Mesoblast has reported that 83% of ventilator-dependent Covid-19 patients suffering from moderate and severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARD) treated with two IV infusions of its allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell candidate, remestemcel-L, showed survival in first five days of a clinical trial. All patients were treated at Mt Sinai hospital, New York, US as part of an emergency investigational new drug (IND) application or expanded access protocol.

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